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DALI and wireless

Wireless solutions for DALI

The DALI Alliance’s strategy is to enable both wired and wireless connectivity for DALI, providing flexibility, choice and creative freedom for lighting designers, OEMs, and system integrators. Many factors determine whether wired or wireless (or a combination of using both) is the best option for a project. 

There are two distinct approaches:

First, we are standardizing Wireless to DALI Gateways. These enable DALI lighting products to be incorporated into non-DALI wireless ecosystems. 

The second approach is Wireless DALI, where devices communicate using existing DALI commands, carried over a wireless medium.

Find out more in our recent Blog article:

 


DiiA wireless subgroups

Wireless Gateways

This subgroup has created specifications for standardized gateways between DALI and existing wireless protocols. Currently, the following protocols are supported:  

  • Bluetooth mesh 
  • Zigbee 

Other protocols may be considered in future.

The subgroup is now developing tests, which will enable these gateways to be added to the DALI-2 / D4i certification program.

DALI over Wireless 

This subgroup has created a specification providing changes and additions to Part 104 of IEC 62386, which enables DALI over wireless and IP-based carriers. Currently, this specification supports: 

  • DALI with Thread

Other carrier protocols may be added in future.

The subgroup is now developing tests, which will enable a new certification program.

All DiiA Regular members are invited to participate in all T&C WG activities, including the new Wireless subgroups.

 


BACKGROUND

At the DALI Summit in September 2019, Arnulf Rupp, chair of the DiiA Board, gave a presentation entitled, “Where does DALI fit in a wireless world? >> Download the presentation

As well as unveiling DiiA's wireless plans, the presentation reached the following conclusions:

  • DALI fits in a Wireless World in multiple ways.
  • There will not be ONE protocol dominating the world any time soon.
  • Standardized gateways will allow use of D4i in combination with established, multi-vendor ecosystems.
  • Native DALI has the opportunity to win important markets with its unique set of features combining wired and wireless on multiple carriers including IP-based carriers.

 

Specifications

The DALI Alliance has published new connectivity specifications :

Wireless to DALI Gateways

  • Part 341 - Bluetooth Mesh to DALI Gateways
  • Part 324 - Zigbee to DALI Gateways

>> More on Wireless Gateways

Wireless DALI

  • Part 104 Changes & Additions

This specification initially supports the use of DALI with Thread as the wireless carrier.  

 

 

 


DALI and Wireless – FAQs

What’s the difference between DALI Over Wireless and Wireless Gateways?

View answer

DALI Over Wireless (also known as Wireless DALI) implements the DALI lighting-control application on top of an underlying wireless network. The devices in a DALI Over Wireless mesh network are DALI-based devices with wireless communication capabilities. There is no translation between DALI and the wireless protocol. It will also be possible to have a bridge between a wireless DALI network and a wired DALI network or luminaire. Wireless to DALI Gateways allow DALI lighting products to be incorporated into existing wireless ecosystems. The gateway effectively translates between DALI and the wireless protocol.

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Which approach is better – DALI Over Wireless or Wireless Gateways?

View answer

There are many different application areas and use cases that can be addressed by combining DALI lighting control with wireless communication links. By working on specifications for both DALI Over Wireless and Wireless Gateway options, and by involving at several wireless protocols, DiiA is creating the necessary standardization that will provide choice for product developers, customers and other stakeholders.

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What is “Part 104” and can product developers already use it?

View answer

The term “Part 104”, which means Part 104 of the IEC 62386 standard, relates to DALI Over Wireless options. Yes, anyone is able to use Part 104, which is publicly available via IEC. Part 104 describes a number of transport alternatives—both wireless and wired—to the conventional wired DALI bus system. However, Part 104 lacks a number of critical details that will enable interoperability and certification, and these are addressed in the new DiiA Specification “Part 104 Changes & Additions”.

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Will you offer certification of wireless DALI products? How long will this take?

View answer

Yes, the goal of both DiiA activities—DALI Over Wireless and Wireless Gateways—is to establish certification programs in collaboration with the different ecosystem partners. Work is progressing, but it is too early to give a firm schedule for the start of certification.

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Are you working with established wireless protocols?

View answer

Yes, DiiA has signed liaison agreements with the Zigbee Alliance , the Thread Group and Bluetooth SIG. We have developed specifications for DALI to Wireless Gateways for Zigbee and, separately, Bluetooth Mesh. For DALI Over Wireless, our specification initially supports DALI with Thread as the wireless carrier. Support for other protocols may be provided in future.

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How do you decide which organizations to work with, and which protocols to adopt?

View answer

The initial choice of protocols was determined by the priorities of DALI Alliance members. Further protocols may be supported in the future. Specification development and testing requires participation from our members on a volunteer basis.

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What’s the benefit of combining DALI with a wireless network?

View answer

Wireless networking has the potential to provide many benefits, not least the ability to integrate lighting with other building-management systems. However, the most widely-used wireless protocols were not developed with lighting as the main focus. In contrast, DALI was developed specifically for lighting and has a number of tailored features related to diming, colour control, sensing, emergency lighting, availability of luminaire, energy and diagnostics data, and many more. DALI is also based on a global standard. Other protocols cannot offer the same rich set of standardized, lighting-specific features.

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Will DALI work over Ethernet? What about WiFi?

View answer

Part 104 describes a number of transport alternatives—both wireless and wired—to the conventional wired DALI bus system. One of the underlying communication protocols in Part 104 is User Datagram Protocol (UDP), which is related to Internet Protocol (IP). UDP enables several wired (e.g. Ethernet) or wireless (e.g. Thread, WiFi) options. The new specification supports DALI with Thread, which is a wireless, IP-based protocol. Other protocols may be supported in future.

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